Friday, May 14, 2010


My son and daughter are fabulous cooks! They live together in Richland, Washington, and invited me over a couple weeks ago for an early Mother's Day celebration. I loved it! We had Oysters Rockefeller, Grilled Porcini Mushroom Burgers, homemade Olive Bread and Potato Rolls, and Green Salad with Homemade Dressing. And for dessert - Chocolate Orange Mousse - My! Oh! My!

(To my FaceBook friends, Bryan posts photos of his gourmet meals; I'm tagged in some of those. We supply him with lamb, chicken, and occasionally pork and turkey. He transforms them into incredible meals.)

Then, on Mother's Day itself, I was sick and didn't feel like celebrating... EXCEPT that I indulged myself to a rare fiber order. Spin-Sales had an ad for Stansborough Grey fiber - something I;ve been coveting since I got interested in Gotland sheep. The Stansborough folks are the ones who provided fabric for the Lord of the Rings Magical Elven Cloaks, and other costumes in both the LOTR and Narnia movies. Last year, we talked seriously about importing some of the Stansborough Grey sheep to cross with our Gotlands. The Eldridges bred their Gotland sheep over the decades to have a finer fleece and retain the luster of the original flock, resulting in a separate breed - the Stansborough Grey. At least for now, we put that effort on hold pending financial and other matters.

So, I went to the International Fleeces website - - looking for the Stansborough roving and found it! Threshold crossed, I added some Shetland/Silk top and Swedish Gotland top to keep the Stansborough company. I ordered 3 ounces of each - enough for a hat, mittens, scarf, bag, or other small article. After all, it was a Mother's Day present to myself.

The box arrived in about a week, and opened, yielded not 3 but 4 bags of beautiful fiber.

(btw, the background is a Gotland lamb pelt from the UK. It lives on our bed and I get to pet it every morning and evening.)

I opened each one and fondled the contents.

The Swedish Gotland (above) is a fiber addict's delight! The hand is silky, the luster wonderful and, the top looks like it'll be a breeze to spin. The steely blue-grey color is one of the unique characteristics of the Gotland breed.

I opened the Shetland/Silk (also above) next. This is a blend I've heard of and been intrigued by. It's "black" Shetland with white Tussah silk. It has a bit of a bronze cast to the black, very typical of Shetland "black". This, too, is very clean, well produced top that looks wonderful to spin. The hand is soft and it should make striking yarn.

Next, I opened the Stansborough Grey Roving (a trend - this photo is above). Well, hmmmm. It is soft feeling, and it is a nice clear grey color. I didn't find the luster I was expecting and the roving is a bit rustic. It's more of an amorphous blob in several pieces than evenly drafted roving, and it could be cleaner. It has more resilience than silkiness. To my hand it feels more like a very nice Shetland than a Gotland derivative. It's very nice, just not quite what I expected. I look forward to spinning it! Perhaps as a yarn it will have more luster and Gotland character.

The fourth, and bonus, bag is a lovely sample of recycled Sari Silk from India in vibrant colors (this is a recording - photo above). I've been wanting to try spinning this and the colors are lovely with the clear greys. Thank you, Talia!

I am very pleased with my newest fibers! Doing business with Talia of International Fleeces was enjoyable and hassle free. (No affiliation - guess I need to include that :-) I'd buy from her again, and recommend you take a look.

My plan is to spin these up when I get a few moments between lambing and farm chores... oh, and playing on the internet ;-)

- Franna


Michelle said...

The Swedish Gotland is to die for! LOVE the color and luster -- I want to roll around in it and then spin and spin and spin. Far more appealing than the Stansborough, at least in the pictures; I'd stick with Gotland genetics if I were you!

Jody said...

How nice to try the different Gotlands! I can't imagine those Stansborough persons would want anyone messing with their genetics.
I do luv that Gotland luster and I find blending it with silk or kid mohair makes it even softer and shinier.

Tina T-P said...

Kathy L gave me some NZ Gottland that was supposed to have come from the same place as the Lord of the Rings fiber - as I recall, it looked a lot like the Gottland that you received - nothing like the other...It was very nice to spin, as I recall.

Congrats to you and Clifford on your dog trial wins.

My mother's day present to myself was a set of Calphalon skillets - I love them - although they are not as big as my Pampered Chef skillet, the teflon is all peeling off - not very healthy, I think...

Hope you've received your S.E. check. T.

Less is More said...

hi good day nice post you have . great . i hope you have a post about garden spinner or other garden and home accessories , im interested on this i hope you can help me . thank you!